Cougars Beat Braves in Double OT

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(ISN) – SAANICH, B.C. – Lane Van de Wetering scored the game winner at 3:56 of double overtime to lift the Victoria Cougars to a 4-3 come-from-behind win over the Saanich Braves in one of two Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League games on tap Friday night.

Playing three-on-three, Van de Wetering was mobbed by his teammates after he redirected a centering pass from Ryan Vorster past Brandon Ward.

Victoria (22-3-1-0), who battled back from two two-goal deficits, extended its winning streak to four games.

Wade Johnson continued his hot streak, scoring is 18th and 19th goals of the season. Also finding the back of the net was Brett Lervold who scored his second goal in as many games.

Overtime has not been kind to the Braves (8-14-0-5) who lost twice to Westshore and once to Kerry Park and Peninsula earlier this season.

Saanich opened the scoring on a power play at 11:57 of the first period as Seamus Maguire scored from Alex Schlueter and Nick Guerra. Maguire, who lifted a backhander over Grant Payne, should still have been in the penalty box when the goal was scored.

At 1:47, he and Robert Zadra received coincidental minors for slashing. But in addition to his two-minute minor, Maguire was also assessed a ten-minute misconduct.

The goals would become fast and furious in the second period.

Jack Rachwalski gave the Braves a 2-0 lead at 1:38 off an odd-man rush.

Victoria cut the lead in half on a power play as Johnson, who extended his goal scoring streak to nine games, wired a slap shot over the left shoulder of Ward at 8:06.

Nyshan Basra would get credit at 9:24, scoring a power play goal from Maguire and Connor Birmingham.

That goal would end a forgettable night for Payne who allowed three goals on 16 shots. Anthony Ciurro stopped all 17 shots he faced in relief.

Johnson pulled the Cougars to within one with his second goal of the game at 15:39.

Then with 31.7 seconds remaining in the period, Lervold tied the game at 3-3 on another power play. Assisting on the goal were Sam McMullen and Johnson.

McMullen, who leads the VIJHL scoring race with 15 goals and 30 assists, extended his point streak to 14 games.

Although there was no scoring in the third period and in the first overtime, there was plenty of action around both cages.

In the second overtime period, McMullen rang the puck off the crossbar. Ben Meek of Saanich took a stretch pass up the middle for a breakaway but was caught from behind by both McMullen and Michael Fretz.

Then with 1:04 to play, Van de Wetering scored his fourth goal of the season.

Ward stopped 27 shots in the loss.

Both teams went 2-for-5 with the man advantage.

In North Saanich, Sheldon Brett scored three goals including the game winner at 2:13 of double overtime to propel the Comox Valley Glacier Kings past the Peninsula Panthers 4-3 at the Panorama Recreation Centre.

Next game for Victoria is Thursday, December 4 against the Saanich Braves. Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:00 p.m.


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